In June of 2019, members of the nonprofit Called Higher team sailed more than 500 miles along the Florida coastline from Vero Beach to St. Petersburg through Marathon Key. The Called Higher documentary, Perseverance, chronicles this two-week adventure of 13 teens and three adults as they sail aboard four small sailboats and press through the difficulties of an ever-changing environment.
Called Higher Founder Donathan Williams had a big vision for how to show the documentary to a large local audience. The Lord led him to rent a theater. Perseverance premiered on June 4 at The Majestic Theater in Vero Beach. With two showings, over 500 people were in attendance. It was an amazing night.
Eleven of thirteen of the original sailors on the trip, many of them college-aged now, were in town for the premiere. Former Called Higher team members performed live worship music before each showing and current Called Higher members helped by directing people to the theater, setting up food tables, and selling t-shirts.
“The heart behind Called Higher sailing is to bring youth outside into the marine environment and give them opportunities to grow in character and Christian maturity,” said Donathan. “There are so many sailing and maritime illustrations that communicate Biblical truth. We teach these lessons through hands-on instruction in sailing on Tuesday afternoons as well as Bible studies and we include overnight trips and longer ventures such as the one
you see in Perseverance.”
Along with sailing, Donathan and his wife Kimberly, who has led worship together since 1998, saw an additional avenue of ministry within the group. “We began to see the musical talents and abilities in the young people that were involved in the sailing program. Kimberly and I started taking these young worship leaders with us to lead worship at churches in Florida. This began the Called Higher Worship Band.”
In the summer of 2018, they started the Called Higher Community Youth Choir, and together with the Called Higher Worship Band, they have been invited to lead worship for the Women’s Refuge Annual Christmas Banquet, Calvary Chapel Vero Beach, Tabernacle Ministries, St. Paul’s Church, and Master’s Academy.
“Teens today are drawn by our culture to retreat to digital worlds that damage the spiritual and moral fabric of our young people. Called Higher provides an outlet for them to be challenged in a creative, adventurous, and loving environment,” explained Donathan, who plans to return to Vero Beach with his family in December.
Perseverance can be viewed on YouTube. For information about Called Higher or to financially support teens involved in this nonprofit ministry, visit calledhigheradventures.com.